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Lillis - A true Student/Athlete

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Six Winter Scholar-Athletes Announced

Courtesy: America East Communications

Release: 05/14/2008




CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Six student-athletes that participated in winter sports for the 2007-08 academic year were named America East Scholar-Athletes on Wednesday afternoon. Vermont’s May Kotsopoulos (Waterloo, Ontario/Waterloo Collegiate) and Albany’s Brian Lillis (Urbandale, Iowa/West Des Moines Dowling) garnered the honor for women’s and men’s basketball, while Vermont’s Carmen Lagala (Montpelier, Vt./Montpelier) and Binghamton’s Rory Quiller (West Point, N.Y./James O’Neill) were recognized as the female and male recipients for indoor track and field. The women’s and men’s swimming and diving awards were handed out to UMBC’s Tina Cantwell (Sinking Spring, Pa./The Hill School) and Binghamton’s Brenno Varanda (St. Petersburg, Fla./Northeast High).


The Scholar-Athletes were members of teams in the six championship sports which America East offered in the winter season including men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s indoor track and field, and men’s and women’s swimming and diving. Member institutions of America East Conference for the 2007-08 winter season included University at Albany, Binghamton University, Boston University, University of Hartford, University of Maine, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), University of New Hampshire, Stony Brook University and University of Vermont.


A committee of athletic administrators and NCAA Faculty Athletics Representatives chose an honoree in each of the six winter championship sports. Each America East Scholar-Athlete was a starter or prominent reserve and carries a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.20.


Kotsopoulos, a sophomore guard sporting a 3.54 cumulative GPA, helped the Catamount women’s basketball team earn the two seed in the America East Women’s Basketball Championship and a 24-9 overall record. She earned the Defensive Player of the Year, the first Vermont player to win the award, and placed on the All-Conference Second Team, All-Academic Team and All-Defensive Team. Kotsopoulos led the league in steals (2.15 per game) and ranked among the league leaders in four other categories. She also ranked second on the team in scoring and fourth in America East with 12.6 ppg. Kotsopoulos is a business administration major at Vermont.


Lillis finished his career at Albany this year as just one of 10 players at the Division I level to lead his team in points, rebounds and assists and will graduate with a degree in business administration. He was selected to ESPN The Magazine’s District I All-Academic Team by CoSIDA and received the Albany Athletic Director’s Academic Honor Roll recognition with a 3.23 GPA. Lillis was also presented with Albany’s 2008 President’s Award for Leadership at the Great Danes’ annual awards banquet. On the court, he was just as outstanding, earning a place on the All-Conference First Team and All-Defensive Team. Lillis was voted the 2008 America East Fans’ Choice Player of the Year and was the 2007 America East Defensive Player of the Year.


A senior middle distance runner on the Vermont track and field team, Lagala is an English major, film minor with a 3.52 GPA. She is a two-time America East Indoor Track and Field All-Academic Team honoree and has been named to the conference’s Academic Honor Roll seven times as of fall 2007. In addition, Lagala owns seven track and field school records at Vermont and won her fourth straight America East title in the 800 meters at the 2008 America East Outdoor Track and Field Championship. She has earned All-America East, All-New England and All-ECAC honors all four years she has competed and owns five America East titles and four New England Championships.


Quiller, a graduate student aiming for a Master’s of Management Business Administration, was the male 2006-07 America East Scholar-Athlete of the Year and continues to excel. The three-time All-American became the first male National Champion, and only second overall, from America East by winning the NCAA indoor pole vault title. This winter, Quiller became a six-time America East pole vault champion and the male Most Outstanding Field Athlete at the indoor meet. He holds the America East and NCAA East Region outdoor pole vault records and the America East indoor pole vault record.


A junior psychology major with a 3.43 GPA, Cantwell holds the UMBC school record in the 100 breaststroke and is a member of the 200 medley relay and the 400 medley relay teams that hold school records. At the 2008 America East meet, she earned first-place finishes in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, achieving NCAA B-Cut and USA Olympic Trial qualifying times in the 100. Cantwell is a member of the two-time America East Champion 400 medley relay team, setting a conference record in 2008. She’s also been named to the Commissioner’s Honor Roll the last two years and to the 2007-08 swimming and diving All-Academic Team.


Varanda is a junior mechanical engineering major with a 3.47 GPA. He has won three individual titles at the 2008 America East Swimming and Diving Championship, garnering the men’s Most Outstanding Swimmer and All-Academic Team honors. Varanda produced a school-record-setting performance in the 200 breaststroke and will enter his senior season next fall as a three-time reigning league champion in both the 200 breaststroke and the 400-IM. In his three-year collegiate career, Varanda has collected seven individual America East titles and two America East Commissioner’s Honor Roll standings.

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